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Following the WHO declaration on 1 February 2016 of a Public Health Emergency of International
Concern (PHEIC) with regard to clusters of microcephaly and neurological disorders
potentially associated with Zika virus, the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean
conducted three rounds of emergency meetings to address enhancing preparedness actions
in the Region. The meetings provided up-to-date information on the current situation
and agreed on a set of actions for the countries to undertake to enhance their preparedness
and response capacities to Zika virus infection and its complications. The most urgent
action is to enhance both epidemiological and entomological surveillance between now
and the coming rainy seasons in countries with known presence of Aedes mosquitoes.
Zika virus like other vector-borne diseases poses a particular challenge to the countries
because of their complex nature which requires multidisciplinary competencies and
strong rapid interaction among committed sectors. WHO is working closely with partners
and countries to ensure the optimum support is provided to the countries to reduce
the risk of this newly emerged health threat.